Meerkat makes it easy to embed streams on your site

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Jim MacMillan

Independent Journalist at jimmacmillan.com
I am a solutions-oriented independent multimedia journalist, based in Philadelphia.
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In case you’re not familiar with embedding, it is the very simple process of using a tool to generate and copy code which you can then paste into blog posts and other platforms, in order to display multimedia content.

This is how most of the inline YouTube videos, tweets, SlideShare and other presentations you see wind up on many sites, but you don’t even need to read the code you are posting.

And Meerkat just beat Periscope to the punch on this critical service, which many of us have been eagerly awaiting. A page on the Meerkat website walks you through the process:

The embedded player is smart. It will show your live stream if you’re live. If you’re not live, if will show your next upcoming stream. If you have no upcoming streams, it will display stats from your last stream. If you have not streamed yet, it will show your profile.

Users can pick from three sizes, upload a cover image, and have the option to allow or disallow comments on the embeddable player, according to theverge.com.

Supporting embedment is important because “it allows video publishers to keep traffic on their own websites,” recode.net explains. Previously, viewers had to click through from the direct link or watch via the Meerkat app, according to thenextweb.com.

As mashable.com explains: “The move could help (Meerkat) broaden its reach and differentiate itself from Periscope, a similar service owned by Twitter.”

Meanwhile, Meerkat is not disclosing active users but says May was their highest traffic month — more than tripling March levels — according to techcrunch.com.

Update: Now there is a plugin available, which makes it even easier for WordPress users to embed Meerkat streams.

Variety reports on how Meerkat partnered with Shark Week on the Discovery Channel to introduce the embedding service:

Discovery Channel Debuts Meerkat’s New Embed Feature for ‘Shark Week’

Here is a comprehensive video tutorial in the Meerkat embedding process:

Photo at top of post: One of two resident male whale sharks in the Georgia Aquarium in the United States. Photo Zac Wolf, used in accordance with Creative Commons licensing.

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Updates enhance the Periscope experience

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Jim MacMillan

Independent Journalist at jimmacmillan.com
I am a solutions-oriented independent multimedia journalist, based in Philadelphia.
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Above: @STLFireDept Periscoped firefighters at work in St. Louis today.

It has been almost a week since Periscope enabled web replay viewing, and that improvement came shortly after their mobile app update, but the real advantages emerge when applying both together.

The absence of web replays had been a common complaint among Periscope viewers, according to reports from PC Mag and The Verge.

But you will really feel the difference while broadcasting, knowing now that there are more ways for viewers to consume and share your reports, as I discovered while experimenting over the weekend.

Now, it makes more sense to ask your viewers to retweet your link because everyone can come back and watch for up to 24 hours.

The web replay view also makes it possible for viewers to watch once before deciding if they want to capture a copy, as I often do with Quicktime or apps such as Snapz.

And now that the Periscope app makes it possible for viewers to grab and share a link to the stream, they can very easily repost to Facebook or their blogs, or share via SMS or email. (So, you might want to suggest those possibilities while broadcasting.)

To get the related URL while viewing a live or recorded video inside the Periscope app, users now need only to swipe right, click “Share” and touch “Copy to Clipboard.” Then, they can paste it anywhere.

If the video is live, users will still find the previous options to share the stream directly with their followers inside the app.

A post at Softpedia’s Webscripts Homepage agrees with The Verge that removing the 24-hour limit and enabling embeds are the next critical steps for Periscope, making it possible for users to share live and recorded videos “just like you can with tweets, Facebook posts and Instagram photos.”

There are some workarounds presently possible with applications capable of capturing live video from your laptop screen and and rebroadcasting with embed codes, but the processes are brutally cumbersome and produce horizontal windows with shadowboxing around vertical videos.

For now at least, Twitter Just Made Periscope Better, according to WebProNews, adding: “Though much of our internet use is increasingly taking place on mobile, there is still a great deal of importance left when it comes to the desktop, so this is a significant move for Twitter’s new service.”

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Finding more reporting on Periscope reporting

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Jim MacMillan

Independent Journalist at jimmacmillan.com
I am a solutions-oriented independent multimedia journalist, based in Philadelphia.
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We’re starting to spot more stories on the potential of Periscope for the news business.

“Journalists might see Periscope not as content delivery, but as context delivery,” according to a post from storybench.org, explaining how “the one-on-one feel of a Periscope broadcast on your personal screen… allows news consumers to tag along with journalists out in the field.”

Oh the places you’ll go: Tapping Periscope for reporting – Storybench

Meanwhile, journalism.co.uk has an update on How livestreaming apps fit in the newsroom.

And new NBC Nightly News Anchor Lester Holt has been experimenting with Periscope and says “That’s the direction I think we are all going in,” according to a post at jamestownsun.com.

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Periscope goes to the races

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Jim MacMillan

Independent Journalist at jimmacmillan.com
I am a solutions-oriented independent multimedia journalist, based in Philadelphia.
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Young drivers are already using Periscope during Saturday night dirt track races, according to a recent article from beyondtheflag.com:

Periscope Could Change The Landscape Of NASCAR Forever
Off the track, NASCAR superstar Dale Earnhardt, Jr. recently used Periscope “to give fans an exclusive look at his life on three different occasions,” according to sportingnews.com. And nascartalk.nbcsports.com reported that Earnhardt “has elicited some help on what to do on Periscope from teammate Jimmie Johnson.”

“I’ve just been experimenting, playing with it,” reported NASCAR driver Tony Stewart, according to a recent post at wlfi.com, where he added: “I’m having fun with it.”

However, Beyond the Flag continued:

“If NASCAR was smart, they would begin to utilize this kind of technology on the track as well as off,” according to the news and fan community site. Have pit crews broadcast live from the drivers pit box to give an update on their strategy, give fans a question and answer session during pace laps of a race, or even let fans join their favorite driver in an up close and personal look at their victory lane celebrations.

For now, most of the Periscope streams with titles including “NASCAR” seem to be coming from fans. Here is a glance at related tweets:

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Streaming video headline check

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Jim MacMillan

Independent Journalist at jimmacmillan.com
I am a solutions-oriented independent multimedia journalist, based in Philadelphia.
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Above: Olympic skater @MichelleWKwan was hosting @HillaryClinton‘s Periscope stream last weekend in New York.

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Periscope surfaces at #IRE15

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Jim MacMillan

Independent Journalist at jimmacmillan.com
I am a solutions-oriented independent multimedia journalist, based in Philadelphia.
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Above: We put on a “Periscope for Journalism” pop-up panel during #IRE15 last week in Philadelphia.

With the popularity of new live-streaming mobile video applications emerging over just the past few months, I began leading small presentations at journalism conferences and newsrooms here in Philadelphia.

But last week, one of the largest and most esteemed gatherings of our profession came to town for the Investigate Reporters and Editors (IRE) 2015 national conference.

While IRE had no plans to address streaming journalism, they did offer the opportunity during the conference to apply for time to present pop-up panels on emerging topics.

And my effort to lead “Periscope for Journalism” won a place in the program, based on votes from journalists in attendance.

My pitch for the panel began:

The sudden popularity of live-streaming mobile video applications has been creating new possibilities for journalists. But once again, the emerging platforms present a new set of ethical and legal complications.

I promised a quick presentation and demonstration before moving to a “lively conversation about the challenges and responsibilities of real-time mobile broadcasts.”

And I had the great fortune of finding two remarkable colleagues to join me:

Josh Cornfield is the New Jersey News Editor for The Associated Press. He works with a team devoted to finding and telling both breaking news stories and high-level enterprise.

Susan Phillips covers energy and the environment for the multi-media public radio project StateImpact Pennsylvania. She holds duPont and Murrow awards and spent a year at MIT as a Knight Science Journalism Fellow.

Next, I went on a bit of a social media campaign for votes and then attendees, promising more than just fun and games.

During the panel, we discussed several topics which have been emerging here at streamalism.org and I pointed out a pair of how-to posts — on broadcasting and discovering streams.

A couple of notable examples included reporting from the recent Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia by local photojournalist Joe Kaczmarek, and streams from the Baltimore riots by Paul Lewis, the Washington correspondent for The Guardian.

Josh Cornfield said that he followed Kaczmarek’s live report and called it the “first real reporting anywhere that there were fatalities.”

Cornfield said that — as with all social media reporting — he took that information “as a tip, not as something we’re going to put on the wire,” but that it also prompted him to send an immediate “heads-up” to the AP’s Philadelphia newsroom.

Cornfield said that whenever news is happening there’s a “pretty good chance” you will found something you can use on Periscope. For instance, Cornfield said that he found reporter from a newspaper in York, Pa., streaming live from a press conference after a recent double shooting.

Susan Phillips had not yet produced her own broadcasts but said that as the subject of streaming she found the medium “much more visceral” than tweeting and could imagine additional advantages, such as streaming directly to social media audiences while simultaneously conducting a stand-up report for an anchor back in the newsroom.

Live streaming apps also “brought up a lot of legal questions” for Phillips, who discussed the reasonable expectation of privacy as well as copyright concerns, for example when streaming from concerts.

Meanwhile, Associated Press Philadelphia reporter Mike Sisak streamed our panel on Periscope and then stepped up to the microphone to read questions from his live viewers.

Cornfield took another question on the need to make corrections when a subject on Periscope misinforms your audience, explaining that the correct response would be “a matter of scale” but that you should “let the same audience” know what happened.

More audience members added tips for using Periscope to send your newsroom quick notes from the field, brought up more copyright questions and raised the concern that live-streaming apps could have a chilling effect on public officials — who may become reluctant to share background information at news scenes.

I am predicting only that this won’t be the last journalism conference where these questions emerge.

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Keeping up with streaming app updates

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Jim MacMillan

Independent Journalist at jimmacmillan.com
I am a solutions-oriented independent multimedia journalist, based in Philadelphia.
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Latest posts by Jim MacMillan (see all)

Above: The latest update from stre.am now makes it possible to title your broadcast.

In a recent post, I confessed my love for stre.am but complained that it had one serious shortcoming: Since broadcasters could not title their streams inside the app, related tweets and Facebook posts offered only generic messages at launch and were thus insufficient for catching possible viewers who might be searching by topical keywords — as I do with Tweetdeck.

Well, those days are gone, thanks to a new upgrade (iOS, Android) which I tried for the first time while watching some wet weather sweep over Philadelphia last night.

I chatted with another member of the stre.am team inside that broadcast and learned that they also plan to enable commenting in the web view soon, which would be another important advantage over competitors.

I also learned that it was no accident that stre.am viewers remain anonymous until they comment. That had always been the case but I just hadn’t noticed — with so many differences to consider among the latest apps.

But I think I prefer the Periscope model on that point, where viewers are announced with an onscreen text message when they begin viewing each stream. I can also understand the counter-argument.

Meerkat

Meanwhile, I agree with Mashable’s assessment that the latest Meerkat update adds improvements but “still has much to fix.”

A brutal review inside the iTunes store begins: “I loved meerkat…until this last update,” calls the opening view “horrible” and concludes: “This is a zero star update, but they made me choose 1, so I did. But I’m being generous.”

Check my last post for a look at the latest Periscope upgrades.

In an upcoming post, I will also go over the ANGL app, which looks great at a glance but left me puzzled on first use.

What’s your favorite app for streaming video?

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